Will Schwalbe on the Etiquette of Illness and The End of Your Life Book Club

Will Schwalbe‘s new book, The End of Your Life Book Club, is a beautiful elegy for Schwalbe’s mother, Mary Anne, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2009. During her illness, she and Will, both lifelong readers, started reading books together and only later realized that they had created a very special book club of two.

The End of Your Life Book Club is a moving testament to the power of books and the written word to heal and teach, even in the most difficult times, a topic Schwalbe poignantly describes in part 1 of our interview.

But the book is also a memoir of illness and the challenges and often confusing changes that accompany the daily lives of those facing a life-threatening diagnosis, as well as the friends and loved ones that surround them. In the second part of our Bibliostar.TV interview with Schwalbe, the author discusses his first reaction to a book his mother’s doctor had recommended, The Etiquette of Illness:

“At first, I was very resistant. I thought, you know, common sense will guide me…But actually, when I read the first paragraph, I realized that, of course I need this book, that there is an etiquette to illness. And there’s no reason why you should know it if you haven’t been through it, but there’s really no excuse not to be open to learning it.”


Will’s mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe was the Founding Director of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and as part of her work with refugees she traveled to 27 countries, often during wartime. She spoke at conferences all over the world and received several major humanitarian honors.

Related Video

Bibliostar.TV: Part 1 of Will Schwalbe Discusses The End of Your Life Book Club



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